Journalistic Integrity

So last night, Saturday the first of December 2012, I went to the Rock And Roll Hotel to see Cannibal Corpse play. The show was brutal and fun, as Cannibal Corpse shows tend to be, but unfortunately this isn’t a review of that show.

At the Cannibal Corpse show I was informed that a post I had recently written, namely my review of the Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult show at El Caracol Bar (posted here), has caused the venue to back out of any upcoming metal shows there. That includes the upcoming thirteen band Satan’s Unholy Abomination Fest that was to take place there on December 15th. The fest will still happen on December 15th but it has now been moved from Silver Spring to El Oasis in Baltimore, Maryland, and info on that is posted here. Some Montogomery County inspector stopped by El Caracol last Wednesday and didn’t like how it had hosted the show and I guess that was enough to cause the venue itself to decide to stop hosting metal shows there at all. At last night’s Cannibal Corpse show, I was told about all of this and that my review had been used as some sort of evidence about how things were run there. I was told all of this by someone who is part of putting those metal shows on at El Caracol Bar but I’m not trying to call anyone out or name any names here. Anyways, this person wants me to completely take down my review of the show, or at least edit it drastically to remove the parts I wrote about safety. And that is what brings us to the title of this post.

I can’t in good conscience censor my website like that. I just can’t. I’ve worked too hard to make this site what it is to just take down unpopular posts after they are written. It would be one thing if I had made up stories and lies about the show I went to there but I didn’t. I actually enjoyed the show overall. The person I spoke with said he didn’t want to have to tell everyone that I was the reason the Satan’s Unholy Abomination Fest got moved to Baltimore and that no more shows will happen at El Caracol. I don’t know what they meant exactly by that. Maybe they meant that by outing me some people would stop visiting my site and actively talk trash about it or maybe they meant some of the regulars of the metal shows there would come after me or something. Either way it doesn’t matter, because I’m calling myself out in this post. Even if I did remove the post I don’t think it would make any difference now, the damage is done.

I certainly didn’t want the venue to stop hosting shows there. Hell, I even spoke to several people at that show who told me they wouldn’t have even known about it if not for my site. I love black metal and if there is a way I can help them find a new venue in the area that would host these well attended concerts of underground black metal bands I will gladly do so. I certainly don’t harbor any ill will to them and I’m not trying to create some divide here in the local metal scene. I try very hard to get more people out to more metal shows in the area and it isn’t like this website is paying my bills. I do this because I fucking love heavy metal. I’m sorry that El Caracol isn’t going to host any more metal shows there but even if some sort of authorities were somehow tipped off to the place by my post, I’m not the one who was over serving people and not kicking people out for fighting, and it certainly wasn’t me who constructed the stage or anything else there. I am a writer and I wrote about what I saw and experienced, the good and the bad. That’s what I’m supposed to do. Would you all really prefer my site if I only wrote glowing reviews and complimentary posts about everything? What kind of journalistic integrity would I have then? This isn’t the first time someone has asked me to take a post down or edit content on my site, and it probably won’t be the last. I don’t plan on ever taking down any of my content though. I have to stand for something.

Feel free to leave any comments below you have regarding all of this, even if you want to trash me or this site. I’m not here to censor you either. Tomorrow it’s back to normal on the site and that starts with a new concert ticket give away. Stay metal everyone, and support the scene you’re a part of!

13 Comments

  1. I’m glad you didn’t take it down/edit it. Hispanic-run shows tend to be that crazy, and as fun as it can get, I’ve seen and experienced really stupid shit at those shows because of drunken idiots looking for fights and the venue being unsafe, for lack of a better word. AND the lack of security. So if it took your post to get them to buck up and get their shit together (and I guess that’s my optimism stepping in), then so be it. Plus, to blame you for the no-metal-show policy is rather childish. So I think I’ll be fine checking out other shows in other venues. Thanks for posting this!

  2. I’ve had this site up non-stop since I found it! It’s the only place to get metal show info in the area after moving here from Ohio! This venue however sounds fucking awful … I’m glad I didn’t go! Never edit … stay heavy!

  3. Fuck that and fuck that twice!! This really is just about the only comprehensive place to find info about metal shows in that area. It’s good for people to read your reviews and know what to expect before going in.

    I went to two shows at the Howard and thought that place was so fancy and expensive it scared the metal crowd away. Hardly even anyone at those shows. I prefer the masses to be sweaty and depraved .;)

    But even last night, at Rock N Roll hotel….. I saw several big security guys in the thick of that mass, dealing with the people who needed to be dealt with. Even people who weren’t causing any trouble were asked if they were alright. That’s how it should be. If people are going to be allowed to be dangerously intoxicated and in the state you said they were at the other place, I do feel like a place should be held accountable to look out for the other patrons.

    I’ve seen you give props to a place like Empire for cleaning up. Calling out the good, the bad, and the ugly is just doing it the right way.

  4. It’s too bad about the venue (I feel the frustration: I’ve had to move shows for similar reasons numerous times), but as everyone knows, especially in DC, DIY music spaces rarely last for long. If the show coordinators were concerned about publicity, they should have told people in advance they didn’t want any press or photos, and if that were the case they shouldn’t have been making the event public or openly promoting it.

    Many people experienced in promoting shows at diy indie/punk/metal/hc spots in DC have had these sorts of discussions about press, and whether getting wider press for an underground show is good or bad (and there are also small renovations that can be made to do shows legally). In my experience, investigations into venues like this are often triggered by neighborhood complaints, more so than press. The press is evidence, but I highly doubt much attention was called to the venue by your article. My guess is without available info, police would have just shut down the upcoming festival there while it was happening, which would have been much worse. Had that been the case, your article and whatever other press, actually may have saved the show.

    Chris, I think you push a good line of integrity and honest journalism with your site (which as you mentioned, you do for free, and actually put tons of time and money into, and are widely inclusive/generous with your press). Like anyone else, you’re not infallible, but to me, your site is one of the better aspects of the DC metal scene. If people don’t want press, they should tell you (and everyone), ahead of time. DIY spots need to be cautious in this regard, but it is their responsibility to do so, since DIY spaces ALWAYS eventually get way too much attention.

  5. I am a journalist who has written for national publications and am a reader of this site. From one journalist to another, Chris, your reaction is absolutely on point. It’s your duty to report accurately. What other people do with your information after you’ve reported is up to them. You have nothing to apologize for.
    Thanks for sticking to your guns and not caving to the pressure.

  6. Whether or not to edit or remove your review is a nonissue. As far as I can tell, journalistic integrity is an elusive thing. Despite the unfortunate encounter that prompted this post, I’m proud that it came from a metal head and would expect no less. Good on ya’

  7. The inevitable drama anyone gets for having an opinion on their own blog. It’s bound to happen to anyone who bothers. Thank you for bothering. }:>

  8. Metal Chris: You are truly the man and I look through your blog everyday. The truth sets one free and one should never have to state ones case for having personal as well as journalistic integrity. DC HEAVYMETAL.COM rulz! Always has!! and always will!!!!

  9. That’s unfortunate. For whatever it’s worth, that particular review is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable reviews of any show that I’ve ever read. And this is because of the very reason of your detailed reporting on the hilariously chaotic conditions of the club (hilarious to the reader, perhaps not the attendee).

    Perhaps the most unfortunate thing in all of this is that it was not the promoter who was pummeled by the speaker stacks when the stage collapsed during Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult’s set.

  10. Keep to it man, honesty is the best policy and all that.

  11. The whole reason I found this site was to hopefully find shows outside of the usual venues. Screw those guys.

  12. salutes iam the promoter satans unholy abomination fest december 15th EL OASIS BAR DISCOTECA 3919 EASTERN AVENUE BALTIMORE MD iam not here to talk shitt i just want to say to all hater who tryed to fuck it up the festival 15th that the show still is going to happen not mather what u try and lot more coming on the future stay heavy

    • I’m glad you found a new venue, and on such short notice. I hope the venue works out and you end up doing more underground shows there too. You definitely bring some of the best underground black metal to the area and that’s a good thing for area’s fans of the genre. \m/


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